Tommy Heinsohn

Friday will again see Tommy Heinsohn heard on a Boston Celtics broadcast, albeit only briefly. The 84-year-old Heinsohn has been involved with the Celtics since 1956 as a player (1956-65), head coach (1969-78), and broadcaster (1966-68 and 81-present, with a few gaps), but has been working less in the last few years. Since November, he’s been off Celtics’ broadcasts entirely thanks to health concerns. But he’s going to call in to Friday’s NBC Sports Boston broadcast of the Celtics’ clash with the Dallas Mavericks (tip-off at 8 p.m. Eastern) during the second quarter, and he told the network’s Chris Forsberg he wants to return on a more regular basis once his health allows:

The 84-year-old Heinsohn is set to be discharged from a local inpatient rehab facility on Saturday and his doctors have targeted sleep apnea as the likely cause of the health woes that have forced his absence from game broadcasts.

“I was nursing it along for quite a while then it really started to where I couldn’t get to the games,” Heinsohn said in a phone conversation on Thursday. “But I’m rehabbing right now. They’ve ruled out all [big concerns] — my heart is real strong, the lungs are clear, nothing wrong with my stomach, and we’re down to, perhaps, sleep apnea. I gotta go through the tests. They’ve put a mask on me here at the rehab.”

Heinsohn plans to spend time at a sleep center after leaving rehab. He’s uncertain when exactly he’ll be back at TD Garden for broadcasts but is eager to do such once he’s got his health concerns under control.

It’s good to hear that Heinsohn is healing, with him telling Forsberg that he’s seen results from trials with a sleep mask (he was previously waking up four times a night) and that the rehab staff are helping him to get plenty of exercise (“I feel like I’ve been at Red Auerbach’s training camp for Chrissake”). It’s also interesting to hear that he wants to get back to broadcasting more regularly. Here’s wishing him the best with his recovery.

[NBC Sports Boston; photo also from NBC Sports Boston]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.